Relationship Status Shaming: What Is It And How Do We Stop?
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Relationship Status Shaming: What Is It And How Do We Stop?

Spoiler alert: my dating habits are none of your business.

Relationship Status Shaming: What Is It And How Do We Stop?

As a college-age woman, it is fairly easy to see how frequently the love lives of my friends and peers are put under the public microscope. You can't open your newsfeed or timeline without seeing a smiley couple's selfie or a picture of a group of friends going out for a girls night because "chicks before dicks" right? Not only are our relationship statuses on constant display, but they are constantly analyzed.

Although some things are left private, it seems as though in many cases, our social platforms are just an easy way to validate, and prove to the world, just how single or taken we may be. The funny thing is, we do this to ourselves. No one forces us to list that we're "In A Relationship" on Facebook or subtweet about how the opposite gender (or even our own gender) sucks and that we always pick the losers who don't care about us. No one holds us at gunpoint as we share articles about "Why Single Girls Have More Fun," or makes us silently judge people for their amount of alleged hookups this past weekend.

So yeah, maybe we could keep some of our lovey-dovey details to ourselves, but then again, what's wrong with showing off the lifestyle that you're proud of? Don't seek likes or validation that your life is "acceptable" because there's no such thing. Flaunt what you've got because you're proud of it.

However, there is one thing that we can, and should, stop doing immediately: shaming other people for their relationship, or lack thereof. It's impossible to even count on two hands how many times I see this on a daily basis. Viral pictures and articles tell the tale: "10 Things You Need To Do To Keep Your Boyfriend Interested" "Why Everyone Should Be Single In Their 20s," "Why Our Hookup Culture Is Overrated."

One: there is no script for life. That's the best part of it all. We are surrounded by hundreds of people on a regular basis, and we're all beautifully unique. Certain traits or habits that may be attractive to one person could be totally and utterly repulsive to the next person. It's not about changing yourself to fit a specific criteria or image, but it is about being comfortable with who you are and what you have at any given time, and surrounding yourself with people who support and accept you for "you."

Two: just because you believe that something is correct, it doesn't mean that the entire world agrees. This is the part that is vital to remember. To the people that are single, yes, your 20s are a time for you. I applaud you for exploring, experiencing, and living selfishly because we all deserve that at one point or another. It is important to grow in this way. But, it doesn't mean that you can't do all of those same things while in a serious relationship. Just because BuzzFeed, (and your BFFs) say that the single life is the best ever, it doesn't mean that plenty of people don't thoroughly enjoy their committed, or even open, relationships.

The same goes for the couples who mock the "single" lifestyle as being immature and overrated. Just because someone hasn't found a connection that you have, it doesn't imply that they are a bad person who isn't worthy of love or commitment. A person can be perfectly content in being "alone" and embracing their individuality on their own terms. What a person does with their own body, and their own free time is none of your business. Period.

The fact of the matter is that each person is in a different stage of life. Some people are ready for certain things and some aren't, some are growing independently and some are growing together, and each and every person has had different experiences than you. Don't judge a book by its cover. We've all been there, and we've all been judgmental about each other's love lives, so no one is completely free of guilt.

Just because someone is single, it doesn't mean that they are afraid of commitment, that they're not worthy, or that they aren't making good choices. Just because someone is in a long-term relationship, it doesn't mean that they're boring or rushing the process or abandoning their friends and sense of "self." Try to remember that college and young adulthood is different for everyone. We get enough pressure from society as is, so why provide another source of stress? Who's to say what you should or shouldn't be at a given age? The only thing you can be is yourself.

So, support your friends, encourage them to be healthy and happy, and then let them take the wheel. The only life within your control is your own, so make the most of it. Don't sit at home and judge the choices of others. Go out into the world and make your own choices, ones that make you proud of who you are. Explore, have fun, laugh, and enjoy the little things that you have. Whenever you think you're better than someone else, remember that you aren't. And whenever you think you're worse off, remember that you're exactly where you need to be.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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